What is Yoga?
It is a Hindu spiritual discipline which includes the relaxation of the mind and body. Yoga is a good way to experience the spirituality of the mind, body and spirit. In Yoga the mind, body and spirit are fused to be one. It helps you to maintain a distance between various day to day tensions, struggles, sickness, etc. It helps you to relax after a tiresome day.
Most Westernized yoga classes focus on learning physical poses, which are called asanas. They also usually include some form of breathing technique and possibly a meditation technique as well. Some yoga classes are designed purely for relaxation. But there are styles of yoga that teach you how to move your body in new ways. Choosing one of these styles offers the greatest health benefits by enabling you to develop your flexibility, strength, and balance.
Before You Start: Staying Safe While Practicing Yoga
Even though for most healthy people yoga is a safe non-aerobic form of exercise, it is not without its risks. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the yoga injuries most commonly treated in emergency rooms involve overstretching and strain from repetition to the:
Also, certain poses can increase your risk of injury if you have conditions such as:
- severe osteoporosis
- high or low blood pressure
- ear problems
- problems with your spine
- pregnancy (including risks to your unborn child)
If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing health condition: Consult your health care provider before starting a yoga program. Your health care provider can help you know how to judge what type and level of yoga exercise is safe for you.
Yoga for Exercise at Home
Yoga classes are best for beginners because you can get feedback on your poses and ask questions. If you want to try doing yoga at home, there are videos available that offer fitness-based yoga. Here are a few that I’ve reviewed:
- P90X Yoga: You have to purchase the whole P90X system to get the yoga workout, but it offers a nice at-home routine.
- Yoga For Beginners: Body + Soul: Pilates for Yoga offers an introduction to this ancient form of spiritual and physical exercise. The disc contains a variety of starting poses designed to lead the viewer slowly and easily into this discipline.
- Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown Jillian Michaels, winning trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” introduces a new yoga workout unlike any other. Combining hard-core yoga power poses with her dynamic training techniques, Jillian will get you real weight-loss results fast. YOGA MELTDOWN includes two complete 30-minute workouts that include a warm-up and cooldown. Begin with the Level 1 workout which focuses on quickly flowing yoga sequences to burn mega calories. Then progress to Level 2 which adds twists and balance poses for an even greater burn.
- Yoga Pregnancy: Pre and Post Natal Workouts: Pregnancy and Mothering are some of the most challenging and fulfilling times in a woman’s life. An appropriate yoga practice can help us stay healthy, happy and calm, both as we prepare for and recover from our babies arrival. The 30-minute pre-natal sequence is designed specifically to help moms-to-be develop the strength, flexibility and mental focus that will help them not only in the delivery process but also in facing the new challenges of mothering.